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TEXTILE ASSOCIATION LEADER CHALLENGES PRESIDENT TO DEMONSTRATE SUPPORT FOR U.S. JOBS AND INDUSTRY

 TEXTILE ASSOCIATION LEADER CHALLENGES PRESIDENT
 TO DEMONSTRATE SUPPORT FOR U.S. JOBS AND INDUSTRY
 ORLANDO, Fla., April 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The president of the national association for the U.S. textile industry today challenged the Bush administration to demonstrate support for jobs and manufacturing in Alabama and nationwide by negotiating beneficial trade agreements.
 M.L. Cates Jr., in his first address as president of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI), said the current textile proposal in the Uruguay Round of international trade negotiations "would hand over our market on a silver platter to China, India, Pakistan and Indonesia."
 "Modifying the textile part of the agreement would be a marvelous opportunity for the Bush administration to show some real concern about U.S. jobs and our manufacturing base," Cates told those attending the 54th annual meeting of the Alabama Textile Manufacturers Association (ATMA).
 Cates said the textile proposal should be changed to allow a 15-year, rather than 10-year, phaseout of the Multifiber Arrangement; to guarantee the United States access to foreign markets; to prohibit further tariff reduction; and to ensure that China, which is not a member of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), does not reap the rewards of international trade liberalization.
 China meets none of the conditions necessary to join the GATT, Cates said. "It uses forced labor to produce goods for export, it willfully dumps its products into other markets and subsidizes its exports. It violates not only international trade rules but human rights policies as well," he said.
 On the prospective North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Cates said this potential trading bloc "can only work for textiles and apparel if the Chinese and other Far East countries aren't allowed to increase their share of our market and take away any benefits that would come from the NAFTA for U.S., Mexican and Canadian textile and apparel producers."
 The U.S. textile industry and its workforce, which contribute significantly to this country's high standard of living, are national assets that should be strongly supported and preserved, Cates said. U.S. textile mills use "the best, most efficient and productive machinery than money can buy" and provide safety, education and environmental programs for their employees and communities -- unlike many of their foreign competitors.
 "I am a protectionist if that means protecting American jobs and the American standard of living," Cates said. "I am a protectionist because I believe that it is better to employ textile workers who enjoy freedom in Alabama than to be party to the suffering of slave laborers in China.
 "I'm a protectionist because I am part of an industry that is proud to abide by regulations that protect our water, keep our air clean and our ground from filling up with waste."
 Cates questioned whether the Chinese cherish the environment, the Indonesians invest in worker safety, the Pakistanis pay a decent wage or the East Indians employ child workers.
 "What I'm talking about is protecting that which defines American," he said. "I am talking about protecting those values that distinguish Spartanburg from Saigon."
 "America comes from a long line of protectionists, starting with George Washington, who once warned that to be self-sufficient, America must develop its own textile and apparel industry," Cates added. Members of Congress also recognize the importance of the domestic industry, demonstrated by their majority support of three textile import bills in the last five years, he said.
 ATMI, the national trade association of the U.S. textile industry, provides government relations, international trade, economic information, communications and product services in support of the industry.
 -0- 4/9/92
 /CONTACT: Deborah E. Anderson of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute, 202-862-0513 (office) or 703-476-6436 (after hours)/ CO: American Textile Manufacturers Institute ST: Alabama IN: TEX SU:


BR-EA -- AT008 -- 6843 04/09/92 13:53 EDT
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Date:Apr 9, 1992
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